SPE® Automotive Composites Conference & Expo Succeeds Again

Press release submitted on behalf of SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Expo

The 23rd annual SPE® Automotive Composites Conference & Expo (ACCE), produced by the SPE Automotive and Composites Divisions, was a very valuable event according to exhibitors/sponsors and attendees representing OEMs, Tier Suppliers, Academia and other composites industry professionals.

“The ACCE provided us with the opportunity to feature our technology with a technical presentation and exhibit resulting in new business opportunities and new interest in our products and services – we’re already signed up for next year,” said Jonathon Spiegel, Senior Engineer at Avient Corporation.

“We’re proud to sponsor the ACCE as it’s a proven event for reaching OEMs interested in the benefits composites enable in automotive applications including electric vehicle batteries and components,” said Eric Haiss, Global Director, Automotive Business Development at IDI Composites International. “I look forward to the ACCE every year to meet with suppliers and learn about the latest composites technologies,” said Amanda Nummy, Senior Materials Engineer at Hyundai-Kia.  “ACCE offers a great combination of educational presentations and exhibits with networking opportunities for follow-up and new connections.” 

ACCE Leadership & Summary

“Our ACCE 2023 theme ‘Composites The Key to EV Auto and Air Mobility,’ was expanded from last year (Composites: The Key to EV) to continue emphasizing how composites are essential to automotive electric vehicles and also highlight how composites are essential in the next wave of transportation – electric air mobility – including eVTOLS and more,” said Dr. Christoph Kuhn, Quality Satisfaction Strategy Manager at Volkswagen Group of America and ACCE 2023 and 2022 Co-Chair.

“The 2023 ACCE was successful in attracting attendees who have attended the event for many years and new attendees eager to contribute to composites innovation in transportation as it progresses into the future,” said Dr. David Jack, Professor – Department of Mechanical Engineering at Baylor University and ACCE 2023 and 2024 Co-Chair.

The ACCE 2023 event was held September 6 – 8, 2022 at the Suburban Collection Showplace Diamond Banquet and Conference Center in Novi, Michigan. In addition to Dr. Jack and Dr. Kuhn who provided leadership as Event Chairs, a number of composites leaders from industry and academia provided support.

The Technical Program, including 52 presentations, was led by Dr. Dana Gabriela Miloaga, Nonwovens Technology Leader at Johns Manville and Dr. Mehdi Tajvidi, Associate Professor of Renewable Nanomaterials School of Forest Resources, Advanced Structures and Composites Center and Forest Bioproducts Institute at University of Maine with support from Kim Hoodin, Program Administrator, SPE Automotive Div. Hoodin also managed registration, including over 450 attendees, with support from Jitesh Desai, Program Treasurer, SPE Automotive Division. Dr. Leonardo Simon, Professor, University of Waterloo, led the ACCE Parts Competition that included 9 nominations. Dr. Douglas Smith, Professor at Baylor University, led the Student Poster Competition including 25 presentations with sponsorship support provided by Dassault Systèmes. Executive committee member Dr. Sara Simon, Project Engineering Manager atForward Engineering North America, led a Special Session on Sustainability including 2 keynotes and a panel discussion. Teri Chouinard, President of Intuit Group provided leadership as ACCE Sponsorship Chair with 65 sponsorships and 45 exhibits and support with Event Management overall. 

Keynotes presented at the ACCE 2023 event included: “Journey to the World’s First Ultra-Lightweight Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Composite 100% Recyclable Door Assembly” by Dr. Ryan Hahnlen Principal Engineer and Lead of Strategic Research Operations at Honda Development & Manufacturing of America, LLC & Dr. Srikanth Pilla, Director of The Center For Composite Materials at The University of Delaware (UD_CCM) and Founding Director of ‘Aim For Composites’ a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center; “An Overview of Transportation Trends and Related Opportunities” by Gregory E. Peterson – Chief Engineer at Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX), “A Role for Composites In GM’s Vision for Simulation-Driven & Sustainable Material Impact” by Jason Coryell, P.E., FASM – Engineering Group Manager of Advanced Materials Technology at General Motors Company and “What Does Disruptive Electrification of Transport Mean For Industrialization of Composites?” by Dr. Jamie Snudden, Business Development Manager at Airborne UK.

A Special Session on “End of Vehicle Life Today and Sustainability Solutions for the Future” featured the keynote presentations “Circularity for End Of Life Vehicles” by Kari Bliss, Principal Sustainability at PADNOS and “Recycling Plastics from End Of Life Vehicles: The Final Frontier?” by Dr. David L. Wagger, Chief Scientist and Director of Environmental Management at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and a Panel Discussion including Amar Mohanty, Professor and Research Chair of Sustainable Biomaterials at University of Guelph; Mehdi Tajvidi, Associate Professor of Renewable Nanomaterials School of Forest Resources, Advanced Structures and Composites Center and Forest Bioproducts Research Institute at University of Maine; Dan Dowdell, Business Development Manager at INEOS Composites and keynote presenters Eric Walker from Honda, Kari Bliss from PADNOS and David Wagger from ISRI. The Special Session was led and moderated by Dr. Sara Simon, Project Engineer with Forward Engineering and ACCE Executive Committee member and moderated by Dr. Christoph Kuhn, Quality Satisfaction Strategy Manager at Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and ACCE Co-Chair.

The ACCE 2023 technical program included 52 presentations on advances in the following categories: Composites in Electric Vehicles; Advances in Thermoplastic Composites; Advances in Thermoset Composites; Modeling of Composites; Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing; Enabling Technologies; Sustainable Composites; Bonding/Joining/Finishing; Carbon Composites and Reinforcements; and a special session on Partnerships Advancing Composites in Automotive Applications including Honda North America and Clemson University.

Best Paper Awards

Excellence in technical writing is recognized annually at ACCE by honoring those who have presented the best papers at the conference. The 2023 Best Paper Award winners received the highest average ratings by conference peer reviewers including members of the ACCE planning committee and other industry experts. One winner and two honorable mentions were recognized in the program guide and honored at the event in the “Best Paper Award” competition. Garam Kim, Assistant Professor at Purdue University, won the Best Paper Award for his paper “Enhancing Recycled Thermoplastic Composite Parts Using Recycled Composite Laminate Cutouts.” Honorable Mention recognitions were awarded to Chandra Kishore Reddy Emani, Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Michigan – Dearborn for his paper titled, “Press Forming of E-Glass Fabric Reinforced Polypropylene: A Numerical Study” and Jacob Montrose, Graduate Researcher at Purdue University for his paper titled, “Influence of Waterjet Cut Quality for Fabrication of Test Specimen on Mechanical Testing Results.” The authors were presented with certificates at the conference and their papers were highlighted in the ACCE program schedule and will be published in SPE Automotive and Composites Division newsletters and other industry publications.   

Student Poster Competition:

Students from the U.S.A. and Canada featured innovative research related to polymer composite materials and manufacturing technologies for automotive applications via the annual ACCE Poster Competition. This yearly event enables students to meet with people in the industry and learn about career opportunities as a scientist, engineer, researcher and other professions in the field. Automotive OEMs, tier suppliers, and others appreciate the introduction to the next generation of automotive composites engineering professionals and opportunity to potentially hire them in the future. The 2023 ACCE Student Poster Competition, sponsored by Dassault Systèmes, included 25 posters from 9 different universities. The 2023 ACCE Student Poster Competition winners were:

Graduate Category

1st Place: “Manufacturing and Validation of a Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Composite Door” Amit Deshpande, University of Delaware 

2nd Place: “Material Property Prediction of Recycled Polypropylene via Data-Driven Modeling” John Estela-Garcia, University of Wisconsin – Madison

3rd Place: “X-Ray Micro Computed Tomography Characterization of Void and Carbon Fiber Correlation within the Bead Microstructure of Large Area Additive Manufacturing (LAAM) Polymer Composites” Neshat Sayah, Baylor University

Undergraduate Category

1st Place: “Ultra-lightweight Carbon Foams from Lignin for High-temperature Thermal Insulation Applications” Johnathan Behr, Clemson University

2nd Place: “Sustainable Lightweight Biocomposites from Engineering Plastic and Hemp-Hurd Pyrolyzed Biocarbon” Hugh MacFarlane, University of Guelph

3rd Place: “Investigation of crystalline Degradation in Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Composites” James Tallman, University of Delaware

Scholarship Awards:

The organizing committee for the SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) honored winners of the SPE ACCE Scholarships and Dr. Jackie Rehkopf Scholarships at this year’s event. The SPE ACCE Scholarships are sponsored by the SPE Automotive and SPE Composites Divisions. The Dr. Jackie Rehkopf Scholarships are sponsored by the SPE Automotive and Composites Divisions and generous donations of friends and family to honor the memory of the late long-time SPE ACCE committee member, SPE Automotive Division board member, and automotive composites researcher.  Both scholarship programs are administered as part of the SPE Foundation.

The ACCE scholarships ($2,000 USD each) are awarded to students pursuing advanced studies in a composites related field. The three winners of the ACCE Scholarships are:  Amit Makarand Deshpande, a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the Center for Composite Materials at the University of Delaware; Md Nayeem Hasan Kashem, a graduate student pursuing a PhD In Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech University; and Suyash Oka, a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

Additional ACCE scholarships ($1,000 USD each) are being awarded to Orville Tackett, a sophomore majoring in Plastics Engineering and minoring in CAD and Electromechanical Engineering at Shawnee State University; and Youyi Zhou, a student majoring in Composite Materials Engineering and Minoring in Mathematics, Chemistry and Polymer Chemistry.

The two winners of the 2023 Dr. Jackie Rehkopf Scholarships ($2,500 USD each) are Amy Kurr, a PhD candidate pursuing a doctoral degree in Energy Science and Engineering from the University of Tennessee’s Bredesen Center; and Rachel Van Lear, a PhD candidate pursuing a doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering at Baylor University.

The SPE ACCE SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE was led by Dr. Alper Kiziltas, Amazon Advanced Materials, and included Dr. Leonardo Simon, University of Waterloo; Dr. Christoph Kuhn, Volkswagen Group of America; Dr. Oleksandr Kravenchenko, Old Dominion University; Dr. John Gillespie, Jr., University of Delaware; Dr. Akshay Trivedi, General Motors Co.; Dr. Zeynep Iyigundogdu, Adana Alparslan Turkes Science and Technology University; Drew Geda, Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center; Chuck Jarrett, The Materials Group; and Keith Siopes, EMS-CHEMIE North America and Dr. Prasad Soman, Amazon Lab126. 

Part Competition:

This year’s ACCE Part Competition was led by Dr. Leonardo Simon from the University of Waterloo who previously served as the 2021 and 2022 ACCE Co-Chair.  A panel of automotive composites industry experts, from industry and academia, studied the 9 nominations that were submitted in advance of the event and reviewed the parts onsite and voted for the Most Innovative Material and/or Process Applications in Production Part and Prototype Part Categories. Nominations were judged on the impact and trendsetting nature of the application, including materials of construction, processing methods, assembly methods, and other enabling technologies that made the application possible.  Nominations emphasized the benefits of design, weight and cost reduction, functional integration, and improved performance. A separate prize, the People’s Choice award, was selected by vote of conference attendees.

Here are the winners:

Most Innovative Material in the Production Part Category:

Organ Sheet Battery Casings on the 2020 Daimler Class S

Nominated by: Valeo

Most Innovative Material in the Prototype Part Category:

Recycled Paper and Recycled Polypropylene Interior Trim

Nominated by: Volkswagen Group of America

Most Innovative Process in the Prototype Part Category:

Ultra Lightweight Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Door Assembly

Nominated by: Clemson University and Center for Composites Materials at University of Delaware

People’s Choice Award:

Thermoplastic Composites Sandwich Panel for Truck Bed

Nominated by: Johns Manville

ACCE Sponsors:

The 2023 SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Expo (ACCE) was made possible by the support of Sponsors including:

Premier Plus Sponsors: Molding Products, INEOS Composites, and Valeo.

Premier Sponsors: AOC, Ascend Performance Materials, BASF, BOSTIK Adhesives, BYK, Forward Engineering, KATCON Advanced Materials, and Westlake Epoxy.

Associate Sponsors: 3A Composites, A & P Technology, ATF, Avient, Baylor University MTACC, Composites One, Datapoint Labs, Dieffenbacher, Fagor Arrasate, Fraunhofer at Western University,  Huber Engineered Materials, IDI Composites, Johns Manville, Langzauner, Michelman, OMYA, PLENCO, Rassini, Schmidt & Heinzmann, SP2 Carbon, Technical Fibre Products, Tangho, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, Vectorply, and Zoltek: A Toray Group.

Table Top Sponsors: Celanese, Dassault Systèmes, IACMI, MITO Material Solutions, Trimer Technologies, SPE Automotive Division, SPE Detroit Section, SPE Thermoset Division.

Poster Competition Sponsor: Dassault Systèmes

Reception Sponsor: IACMI

Lunch Sponsors:  Mitsubishi Chemical

Coffee Break Sponsor: Langzauner

Advertising Sponsor: DSC Consumables

Media / Association Sponsors: ACMA, Automotive Engineering, Additive Manufacturing, Autonomous Vehicle Engineering, Composites World, Composites Manufacturing, Gardner Business Media, Plastics Business, Plastics Decorating, SPE Plastics Engineering, Plastics News, Plastics Technology, SAE, Truck & Off-Highway Engineering, Urethanes Technology and WARDSAUTO.COM.

Held annually in suburban Detroit, the ACCE currently draws approximately 500 speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and attendees and provides an environment dedicated solely to discussion, education and networking about advances in transportation composites.  Its global appeal is evident in the diversity of exhibitors, speakers, and attendees who come to the conference from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia/Pacific and South America as well as North America. About 20% of attendees work for automotive and light truck, agriculture, truck & bus or aviation OEMs and another 25% represent tier suppliers. Attendees also work for composite materials processing equipment, additives, or reinforcement suppliers; trade associations, consultancies, university and government labs; media; and investment banks. ACCE has been jointly produced by the SPE Automotive and Composites Divisions since 2001.

For more info on ACCE go to:   https://speautomotive.com/acce-conference/.